Syria's Bashar al Assad’s regime forces recaptured the ancient city of Palmyra on Sunday, a monitoring group said, inflicting a significant blow to the DAESH terrorist group.
A regime source was quoted as saying that Assad’s forces and its militia allies took "complete control over the city of Palmyra."
The source added that sappers are in the process of defusing "dozens of bombs and mines planted inside the ancient site.”
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said there was still gunfire in the eastern part of the city on Sunday morning but the bulk of DAESH terrorists had pulled out and retreated east, leaving Palmyra under regime control.
Observatory director Rami Abdulrahman said 400 DAESH terrorists died in the battle for Palmyra, which he described as the biggest single defeat for the group since its massive gains in Syria and Iraq in 2014.
The Observatory also that said around 180 regime soldiers and allied militiamen were also killed in the campaign to retake Palmyra.
Regime forces advanced into the historic city of Palmyra on Thursday backed by Russian air cover seeking to recapture the city from DAESH.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Assad on regaining the city of Palmyra, a Kremlin spokesman said on Sunday.
DAESH seized Palmyra in May 2015 to open a road to the mainly DAESH-held eastern province of Deir al Zor. They have blown up ancient temples and tombs since capturing the city, an act the UN cultural agency UNESCO has called a war crime.
The capture of Palmyra and advances further eastwards into Deir al Zor would mark the most significant regime gain against DAESH since the start of Russia's military intervention last September.